Capital politics: Recipe for disaster,

By Gautam Pingle

02 September, 2013, The Hans India

Hyderabad is poison for Seemandhra politicians. It is as if a Telangana government were located at Mumbai. For Seemandhra politicians, Hyderabad as capital for even ten years is slow poison, permanent joint capital is cyanide, UT is a fool’s paradise
The announcement of Hyderabad as a joint capital for Telangana and Seemandhra for ten years has caused some rethinking on whether this is a good idea. It is not. Especially for Seemandhra politicians First, once the political and administrative capital is more than 100 miles from the farthest corner of the state, trouble begins. Ministers and administrators don’t travel further than a day trip and return to the comforts of the capital by evening. Thus any area outside the 100 mile limit is neglected as it is ignored. This applies oddly to the politician’s own constituency. His/her visits are rare and infrequent and if constituents wish to corner him/her they will have to make the trip to the capital and hang about till they are given time and attention.

Second, the comforts of the capital prevent the rural politician from developing his own town or village. Instead, he/she finds a piece of land near the capital and makes a “farm house'” — generator, swimming pool, luxury housing, guards and guard dogs, electrified fences etc. This provides him the emotional needs of a rural setting. All he needs is the money to build all this (and more) and support the chosen lifestyle. In the capital, he/she lives in luxurious and ridiculously cheap government housing and instead manages to secure a government plot in an upscale area and build a palatial house in his wife’s name and furnish it in the most garish and expensive style. Now he is all set.

Third, the children are sent to the local posh school with admission contrived through direct intervention or that of the CM’s peshi. Colleges ditto. Sending the kids to the US for studies ends in failure as the habit of hard work and study was woefully neglected as the kids are passed effortlessly from class to class under the parents’ shadow. Of course, by now the kids’ demands for goodies is already into BMWs, Porches, Jaguars, Harley Davidson’s, Rolex watches, iphones, diamond jewellery , holidays in Goa, Pattaya, and other exotic places. Children acquire girl friends or boyfriends.

Weddings are another thing that seems to go wrong when the rich and powerful marry. Political and business marriages are arranged at high cost and immense show. Daughters-in-law and sons-in-law make additional demands and, sooner or later, the rich politician will become poorer. Kids’ marriages then tend to break up. Hardly months pass before the divorce court ends the courtship. Can’t the political and the newly rich classes manage their families well enough for them to last? If they can’t manage their families, can they manage their companies and, worse still, the State?

This is the result of village politicians becoming urbanized, children Americanized and the whole family devoted to making huge amounts of money somehow. This is only possible in a capital city far away from the gaze of their rural constituents.
And this can happen only if you live in a capital city. Hyderabad accommodates 10 to 25 star hotels, upscale restaurants, night clubs, five star malls selling everything you could get in Geneva or London. It provides opportunities for free-wheeling young actors and actresses seeking fame and fortune in the film industry, IT professionals with money to burn and no time to do it. Hyderabad provides enough temptations for the children of the rich and powerful. No wonder, they get into trouble and ruin themselves and their parents.

All this leaves a bad taste and provides a handle for your opponents at election time. Worse trouble emerges when the kid also decide to join the family business and stand for elected office. By then it is too late to have a normal family. Whatever punishment a politicians receives is only at the hands of his children, he/she is immune from everything else. First moral of the story is, stay close to your roots, tell the kids where you came from and teach them to get on by their own efforts. Let them see how poor people live and die around them, let them respect their poorer relatives, learn to speak the language of the people and even if they do not choose to serve the people, at least regard them with compassion and occasionally help them when the chance occurs.

Second, stay away from Hyderabad or any big city. And stay honest. Stay in your own ancestral area, try and develop it and enjoy the respect of the local citizens who might even re-elect you without the usual pre-election bribes and booze. Third, running a state government 300-500 miles away from the farthest corner is electoral suicide. Hyderabad is poison for Seemandhra politicians. It is as if a Telangana government were located at Mumbai. For Seemandhra politicians, Hyderabad as capital for even ten years is slow poison, permanent joint capital is cyanide, UT is a fool’s paradise. The only lesson to be learnt by political leaders is, stay close to your people. Once this is violated then all else is lost. Same advice, of course, to Telangana politicians!

(The writer is former Dean of Research & Consultancy, Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad)

Where have all the great leaders gone?

It’s a disgrace on the part of our elected representatives to politicize even the suicides of students. The common man has lost confidence in politicians and look upon them as cheats who promise the moon during the elections and deliver nothing once they are elected

The struggle for formation of separate Telangana state has been going on for more than five decades. The politicians are being benefited by these agitations and the students are losing their studies and lives. Business is being disrupted, public property damaged, normal life disturbed and the minds of school children polluted.

The vote bank politics have destructed the very fabric of Indian democracy. The educated youth is reluctant to get into politics as they see no hope of a long term career. As a result, we have bad politicians, some of them with criminal records. The inheritance of power from one member of the same family to the other is the norm of the day.

The nation is being taken for a ride with politicians creating vote banks on the basis of religion, caste, sub-caste, region, gender etc. The greed for political power has found newer ways to corrupt the voter; hence the rights of an individual can never be questioned.The political parties are run like corporate business houses, the difference being the business of elections. Politics have polluted each and every sphere of our society, be it sports or entertainment.

The Telangana agitation has witnessed numerous suicides and to cash in on the sympathy factor the cunning, power-hungry politicians have pledged to resign from the official positions they are holding in the presence of corpses; but no such thing happened. It’s a disgrace on the part of our elected representatives to politicize even the suicides of students .The common man has lost confidence in politicians and look upon them as cheats who promise the moon during the elections and deliver nothing once they are elected.

Servant maids, dhobis, barbers, tailors, vegetable vendors, car drivers, plumbers, garbage pickers and all sections of society have boycotted the services to the politicians of the region. The politicians have avoided visiting their constituencies and home towns fearing backlash from the very people who have voted them to power.The power mongers keep changing their political colours like chameleons and there is no concern for the people and their problems. The people’s representatives are not with the people, but away from the people when it matters. Do we really need them?

The decision on the formation of Telangana state with 10 districts and Hyderabad as joint capital for a period of 10 years without clarity on the future of the new capital has raised fears and apprehensions among the people of Seemandhra region. The politicians of the region have evaded the responsibility of communicating with the people the modalities of inevitable bifurcation and the government is looking the other way adding to the confusion. Andhra Pradesh ministers who are supposed to represent the State as a whole have started representing one region neglecting the other. The State administration and the law and order has been deteriorating by the day without an assertive leadership and our representatives are restricting their movements to Delhi.The politicians of the State need to wake up to the fact that the bifurcation of the State is a reality and the Telugu people will live together in both the states making Telugus a force to reckon with in India and globally.

There is a saying that if the king is a businessman, his subjects will be beggars. It applies to our current crop of politicians. Can we find a Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri or a Nelson Mandela in the existing political scenario? The most unfortunate thing is that we have no leaders but only businessmen turned politicians to run this country.
We need Leaders, visionaries and statesmen to run this great country and not crooked politicians. The people are cheated, the career of the youth is disturbed, employees are suffering, businesses are badly hit, farmers are committing suicides and students write exams without attending enough classes. The politicians take advantage even in crises by stirring the sentiments of the people and converting them into vote banks.

We, the people, need to blame ourselves for the scheme of things as we elect inefficient representatives across the nation. Elections are an opportunity to elect an efficient candidate who can nurture the constituency and address the problems of the voters. Unfortunately, the educated don’t exercise their right to vote and the uneducated are lured by various bribes. Hence we suffer without a proper leader. We expect solutions for the problems from our elected representatives but not a creation of a bigger problem for an existing problem. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.

(The writer is a private employee)